Dave and I enjoyed many fine meals while we were at the Ancestral Healthy Symposium: among them were Animal with our paleo foodie friends and 26 Beach in Venice, on the recommendation of Melissa & Dallas of Whole9Life. (If you live near 26 Beach, they now offer online ordering!)
To get to Venice, we rented bikes in Santa Monica and rode along the beach. What a day! The sky was brilliant blue and the temperature was in the high 70s, a refreshing treat given the summer we’re having in Austin. (Yesterday we broke the all-time record for 100+ degree days in a year; we’re at 70 days so far.)
The Santa Monica beach looks just like the movies: a wide expanse of sand with a meandering bike bath that leads to the Santa Monica pier with its iconic ferris wheel. The bike path disappears under the pier – home of vampires, naturally – and then leads to Venice. Along the way, there’s a skate park, pullup bars and gymnastics rings, drum circles, and plenty of rollerbladers in bikinis.
Dave did some pretty badass vaults on the graffiti wall near the skate park.
Then we biked around Marina Del Rey and walked out a jetty to fraternize with the seagulls and pelicans. I was lucky to see a bulbous, snorting sea lion – named Bobo, according to the fishermen – but he was camera shy.
All that nature worked up our appetites, and we headed to 26 Beach, a sun-filled restaurant known for its hamburgers – generous slabs of beef topped with unusual ingredients. Here’s a gratuitous picture of my husband because he looked so handsome that day, with the restaurant’s shabby chic decor in the background.
I had “Chef Katsu’s Original California Roll Burger” without a bun: Angus beef, snow crab salad, avocado, pickled ginger, shredded nori, and shoyu-wasabi-aioli. The interplay of textures was luscious, and the aioli had just the right amount of nose-rush.
But Dave really picked the winner. The peanut butter and jelly burger. One bite, and I decided I needed to try to recreate a paleo version at home. It’s totally weird and also totally scrumptious. The creamy texture of the nut butter is a lovely contrast to the grilled meat – and the strawberries are tangy-sweet.
Here’s the home version with no bun, Sunbutter standing in for the peanut butter, and sautéed strawberries taking the place of the jelly. It’s a damn fine recreation of the restaurant burger, without all the annoying anti-nutrients. I’m excited to try the “jelly” technique on other fruits – peaches, apricots, pineapple, and other berry varieties should also work really well.
1 cup strawberries, sliced
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon powdered ginger
8 ounces ground beef
salt & pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons organic (sugar-free) Sunbutter or almond butter
1-2 scallions, green tops only, thinly sliced
1. In a small bowl, mix the strawberries, lemon juice, and ginger; set aside.
2. Generously season the ground beef with salt and pepper, form into patties, and cook your favorite way. I like to grill them on the gas grill so they’re crispy on the outside, but pan fried would be really tasty, too.
3. While the burgers are cooking, heat a small saucepan over medium-high. Pour the strawberries and their juice into the pan and sauté the berries until they’re very soft and syrupy. They should be reduced to about 1/4 cup. Allow to cool a bit.
4. Put the Sunbutter in a microwave-safe dish and heat until thinned, about 40 seconds.
5. When the burgers are done, top each with 1 tablespoon of melted Sunbutter and 1-2 tablespoons of the strawberry “jelly,” then sprinkle with scallions.
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